Matter

Nano Mosh Pit

A biomaterials lab led by Gabriel Lopez has devised a way to grow uniformly sized particles of silicon gel  that can be sorted by soundwaves.  In a liquid chamber with a standing acoustic wave, most particles will gather at the nodes where the wave is standing still. But the new particles are actually attracted to the antinodes where the highest point of the wave is constantly shifting up and down.

Twinkle Twinkle

Silver nanoparticles with a special coating to enable visualization float in a sample of water like so many stars in the night sky. The safety of these particles in a natural system is being tested in experimental chambers operated in the Duke Forest by the Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT), which recently won a $15 million renewal grant from the National Science Foundation. Slight variations in diameter cause the particles to reflect a hyperspectral light source in different colors.

Crumpled Sheet

Graphene, a sheet of pure carbon that looks something like chicken wire under a microscope, has some great optical, electrical and mechanical properties, making it useful for electronics, energy storage, composite materials and biomedicine. But it's also notorious for crumpling up and sticking to itself like a wet piece of tissue paper, says Xuanhe Zhao, assistant professor in Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering.

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